Friday, November 1, 2019

The war on terror has contributed to the growing abuse of human rights Essay

The war on terror has contributed to the growing abuse of human rights - Essay Example While the War on Terror has been a global one, in one way or another, the heart of the military battle has been fought in the Middle East, specifically Afghanistan and Iraq, where the death toll of non-combatants- of humans beings and their rights- continues to rise, almost a decade later. It is the position of the author that this paper’s title is incontrovertibly true. By distilling this issue into its simplest details, and comparing it to the procedures of a common self-defence case, it will be demonstrated that the War on Terror has not only contributed to the abuse of human rights, but is in fact, an attack on human rights. The basic central argument to go to war to protect human rights or liberty or security is perhaps not necessarily a flawed one. The first premise is that one’s liberty or security is threatened, which, in the light of 9-11, say, it would seem that this is true. Liberty and safety does seem to be in jeopardy, even at the best of times, from, amon g other things, terrorists. The second premise for the argument proposing war/violence to defeat terrorism is that something can -and should- be done about the problem. This too, all but the most cynical would agree to be true. The dissolution of Apartheid in South Africa is a prime example of the truth of the second premise. Further damage to human rights was stopped in this case without revolutionary war or violence of any kind. The argument that the progenitors of the War on Terrorism propose goes as follows: there is a threat to human rights because of terrorist groups who are attacking innocent people (premise 1), and so something can and must be done to solve the problem (premise 2), and finally, the best possible course of action is to react with violence in turn. Basically, if you are under attack, you should attack in return so as to end the assault, to survive. Self-defence is its own perfectly sound argument. However, when the defender of himself (or human rights) goes be yond self-protection and inflicts more harm than is necessary, he in turn becomes an assailant, a threat to human rights (Allan, Foster and Tredoux 374) In a court of law, self-defence becomes assault when the ‘defendant’s’ actions are not justified for the situation or level of threat, and/or when their act of self-defence invokes collateral harm. Now that one can consider the War on Terror as a kind of self-defence case, what would the jury of this case conclude about the way the defenders of human rights have gone about their defence? Events like 9-11 are despicable acts of violence, of terrorism, against civilians, against human rights. It is a problem that ought to be solved. Any nation or group of nations would be perfectly entitled to defend themselves against such terrorism. But, who are the defenders of the human rights victims of events like 9-11 supposed to return violence to? Who exactly is their assailant? It is not a sovereign country. It is not eve n a military platoon or contingent- not exactly anyway. Who should the assailed people of terrorism exact their justifiable violence on, so as to protect themselves? The answer that is proposed by pioneers of the War on Terrorism is brazen and presumptuous, at best. At worst, it is in turn, an act of terror, an attack on human rights. This is true because, euphemisms aside, the War on Terror has been, for all practical purposes just like any other war, which always involves invasions, civilian casualties, infrastructure damage

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